We’ve probably all rented something at some time in our lives. Whether renting an apartment or house or rent-to-own furniture and appliances, have you ever noticed that some people seem to treat what they rent, rather than what they own, with less respect? If something breaks, you just call the landlord or rental company. When something goes wrong, there’s always someone else to blame. You don’t even have to pay the rent on time—although there are consequences if you don’t. We all know about the consequences that are the results of our actions.
So, what’s this about “renting your health?” Well, consider the above rental scenario—and apply it to health, wellness, weight loss . . . there is a connection here. If you are “renting” your health, rather than “owning” your health, you might easily fall into the mindset of “finding someone else to blame” for your lack thereof. There is a hard truth here: The only way to “own your health” is to take the personal responsibility for making things work out the way you want them to—and that starts with owning your decisions regarding the choices you make. These can be better nutritional choices, finding ways to become more physically active, and the choice to quit smoking.
Say you decide to keep renting for awhile . . . fast forward ten or twenty years. Add the extra pounds you'll likely be carrying (or shortness of breath, lack of energy, lack of physical stamina). Visualize your appearance. Imagine your health problems. Compare these images with your personal values. How do you feel about this future?
Did you know Americans consume an average of 250 more calories per day than they did two decades ago? That's 26 extra pounds to burn off every year just to stay even. Or that if we retain only an extra 50 calories per day, it can lead to an extra 5 pounds of weight gain per year (25 pounds in just 5 years). Or that almost one-half of all Americans report having a chronic illness—and those illnesses account for 75 percent of our national spending on health care. And that almost 80 percent of all chronic disease is caused by three preventable health behaviors—physical inactivity, poor nutrition and overeating, and smoking.
In other words, way too many of us are acting as if we are only “renting,” with the ability to move into another body when we find one we like better, or find someone else to blame, or find someone to fix what doesn’t work.
But what about taking ownership of our long term health and wellness—and for making those personal decisions that will get us there?